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Parents and children may benefit from birdnesting in divorce

Whether a divorce is contentious or amicable in Maryland, most divorced or divorcing couples can agree that the best interests of any children involved in the process need to be at the heart of the matter. Traditionally, children of divorced or divorcing couples have faced the prospect of shuttling between two different homes, but a recent trend is seeking to change that. "Birdnesting" is a custody arrangement in which both parents share a home while living separately to provide children with a singular place of residence during or after a divorce.

NBC News spoke with a variety of family law experts who believe that birdnesting can be a beneficial arrangement in that it allows for an easier time dealing with transition in divorce. Through birdnesting, children are afforded a safe space where both parents are able to provide care by swapping out time spent together with children. In many cases, one parent will live at the family home in a separate area, like a studio apartment, and spend time with children on a set schedule.

The experts who spoke with NBC News did issue a warning, however, by stating that birdnesting may lead to problems if it goes on too long. Children in a birdnesting arrangement may convince themselves of a future reconciliation between parents and may not easily move on once the birdnesting process ends. To avoid these problems, it is recommended that birdnesting not take place for more than a few months, and parents are encouraged to provide a routine for children that carries over beyond the birdnesting period.

Whether through birdnesting or a more traditional child custody arrangement, protecting children and providing them with a nurturing and loving environment is the most important part of the divorce process. Although arrangements can be made outside of the legal system, many divorcing couples find that it's beneficial to work with a family law attorney to iron out the details of custody arrangements. Working with a family law attorney may give couples an added layer of protection for custody enforcement as well as help in defining property rights and financial asset distribution in a divorce.

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